AE


 

 

Of the same author:

 

IF FOR TELLING THE TRUTH...
      (1963)

POESIA
      (1963)

MY FATHER'S HOUSE
      (1963)

LET'S BREAK THE CHAIN
      (1963)

 

 

Gabriel Aresti

    (1933-1975)

 

Born into a nationalist non-Basque-speaking family in Bilbao. At fourteen he began to study Basque on his own, reading the classics in the City Library and listening to popular verse improvisers. His poetry evolved from the symbolism of his youth to the social criticism of his later years. He exerted an enormous influence of the youth of the 60s and 70s. His work Harri eta Herri (Stone and Country, 1964) is the foundational book of Basque modern civil poetry. He was critical, indulged in controversy and broke the myth of the «Basque believer». He openly stated his left-wing ideas, and also contributed to the updating of song-singing and drama... His death, which coincided with the end of the Franco regime, closed a period of Basque literature.

 


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SHOUTING ON ZORROTZA WHARF

        Gabriel Aresti , 1963

 

 

The German ship has moored at Zorrotza.

She brings hundred-kilo sacks of cement.

Meanwhile,

Anton and Gilen were

Sawing up a tree trunk

With a saw.

With ropes...

There are no cables...

Tugging and tugging,

Now Anton,

Then Gilen,

When I die, Gilen.

Here in Basque,

There in Spanish.

They were swearing

Because injustice is not polyglot

And treats the Spaniard

In the same way

As the Basque.

I measured the tree trunk.

My spectacles steamed up.

(My mother that night even thought

I had fallen in the river). And I said:

I'll always stand

Beside man.

Anton.

Gilen.

 

 

Translation: Toni Strubell

Original version: ZORROTZAKO PORTUAN ALDARRIKA

 

© Gabriel Aresti    

© Translation: Toni Strubell    

anonymous

 

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